This installment of Beard & Brunch is a little misleading given it’s about dinner, but bear with us. Maryam is an absolute fanatic for Korean BBQ, so when we went to Toronto recently, we had to find the best Korean BBQ. After lots of research and asking some of our instafamily, we decided on Korean Village Restaurant. It’s a decent sized restaurant, started by a Korean woman quite some time back (we got to meet her). It’s now managed by her charismatic son and his wife. And I can say without hesitation that was the best food experience we’ve ever had.
Yes, food experience. Not just the Korean BBQ, which was the best we’ve ever had, but the full experience. I honestly don’t even know how to write about the experience without ranting. But I’m gonna give it a shot, so forgive the poor transitions.
From the naked eye, the restaurant is nothing special. There are no gimmicks, no special decor, or a unique ambiance. It’s a Korean BBQ restaurant, plain and simple. The only ‘cool’ thing about it is that there is a real grapevine growing on the front, and the owner uses the grapes to make wine. But to be honest, for a restaurant like this, the ambiance would probably be a detriment. It would take away from the rest of the experience.
From the moment we sat down, the staff was extremely attentive. At first, Maryam and I just wanted peace, no overly friendly staff who cook our BBQ for us (don’t you hate when that happens?). But we quickly changed our minds (except on the cooking for us). Every member of the staff was extremely polite and thoughtful. They talked to us about where they were from, were excited to hear about us, and were just genuine people. We actually ended up spending most of our time with the general manager, the son of the owner. He’s a super smart and funny guy, who took the time to get to know us (we weren’t there for the blog, so he actually had no clue who we were). He speaks about a dozen languages, and even spoke to us about Pakistan and Islam. We ended up having such a good time talking to him, we actually went live on Maryam’s Instagram, and chatted with some our insta-family – he even gave a quick chopsticks tutorial on there!
But all that brings us to the only thing everyone really cares about…. The food. We didn’t really order anything fancy just the basics, boneless ribs and marinated ribeye. The standard fare came out: kimchi, rice, bean sauce, etc. But from the first taste of the bean sauce, to the moment our meat touched the grill, we knew this would be special. The grill was kept on medium heat the entire night, to allow the meat to cook slowly so it was tender and didn’t burn. The meat was marinated for 36 hours and was flavored to perfection, not to mention it was probably the best quality meat I’ve had at Korean BBQ. We also got beef dumpling which we devoured, the sides were delicious, the spicy sauce was amazing, and the kimchi was the awesome (I typically don’t even like kimchi). What’s crazy? It was all homemade! At one point, we actually got to try some of the stuff not on the menu, particularly different kimchi’s and we were even more in awe of what we were having. You can tell that they took pride in everything they put in front of you, the recipes they use, the quality of the food, and your experience with the staff.
The Korean Village Restaurant in Toronto is A MUST GO for anybody in Toronto or going to visit. I know we’re itching to go back to Toronto just so we can eat there again.